The Best Backgrounds for Rogues in 5E (Edgelord-Free Edition)

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Let’s face it: rogues are an often overlooked class in Dungeons and Dragons.

Often regarded as edgy edgelords, they’re usually prickly characters with tragic pasts that they just won’t talk about.

I’m tired of it! Rogues deal some absolutely massive damage, and I love their bonus action to disengage or hide.

They aren’t tanky, but they won’t need to be, when they can be so evasive and dextrous. And in this ranking we’re looking into the best background ideas for your next rogue to stop them from just being a total edgelord.


5. Archeologist

This background comes from Tomb of Annihilation, and it’s absolutely hilarious if you think about it.

You can make a totally Indiana Jones-esque character with this background. With proficiency in History and Survival, you can make a tomb-raiding sleuth to rival Lara Croft.

Rogue works perfectly with archeology, because archeologists require steady, quick hands, dextrous movements, and deadly precision to keep artifacts safe.

This would be super cool, and that’s a hill I’d die on.


4. Folk Hero

Think about it: there’s already a history of Folk Hero rogues, with characters like Robin Hood.

They’re proficient in Animal Handling and Survival, which could be a super cool point – imagine a rogue tussling with whatever wild animal the party comes across and managing to tame it.

That would be so cool!

Folk Heroes are the kinds of people that Bards would write stories about, edge-free.

Folk Hero is a great choice if you want to make a straight-laced rogue.

And if you really want, you can still keep the tragic backstory.


3. Noble

Okay let me explain this one:

Yes, noble could be totally edgy, but it doesn’t have to be.

Say your rogue comes from a well-respected noble family that is alive, well, and loves them. Your character could have turned to a life of crime and to the shadows for any number of reasons!

Maybe they met a friend in the underground that got them interested in shady activities, or maybe they’re just a total kleptomaniac.

Noble can be such an intriguing background for rogues, because not every sneaky sneak has to come from the hard streets.


2. Sailor

I’ve done this before in a campaign.

And it was so. Much. Fun.

Who better to be a rogue than a pirate?

There’s already the Swashbuckler subclass, and so a sailor background is absolutely perfect. You get Athletics and Perception for your proficiencies, which are totally handy ones to have.

Not only that, but there’s a pirate variant option available for you.

With tool proficiencies in water vehicles, the party will appreciate having you on board if you’re anywhere near water, too.


1. Soldier

This is a pretty basic sounding background, but bear with me – all armies have their spies.

Maybe your character signed up for the army, but didn’t have the raw strength necessary for a frontline fighter.

Instead they filtered through the ranks into the likes of a mercenary, a special force. Deadly accuracy, gone before anyone even knew they’d been wounded.

With proficiency in Athletics and Intimidation, it’s a fantastic background to take for a rogue’s usual activities. I highly recommend it.

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